Shaquille O'Neal, Dax Shepard and more celebs tell PEOPLE about the Hollywood star power landing in Las Vegas
Viva Las Vegas!
F1, the beloved international sport that’s rapidly gaining popularly in the United States, will descend on Sin City this week, and the inaugural Las Vegas Grand Prix is bringing out some of Hollywood biggest names.
For three days, race cars will zip past iconic buildings on the famed Las Vegas Strip past at eye-popping speeds, with the festivities culminating on Saturday night at 10 p.m. with the main event.
As with most things in the city, Las Vegas is expected to be a main character in the F1 celebration.
“I live in Vegas part time and can attest that it’s actually the city that never sleeps. There’s so much to do from the shows to dining, clubs, you name it. To try and fathom the undertaking the city planners has to go through in order to turn one of the most trafficked boulevards in the country into an on-street race track is remarkable,” Shaquille O’Neal told PEOPLE exclusively. "I love too that Formula 1, which can feel elite with its races in cities like Monaco, is made more accessible to race fans.”
The NBA legend is just one of the stars expected to head to the desert for the race, as he will join David Beckham to host a grand prix party at Club SI, which will overlook the circuit.
O’Neal calls his party a “more premium” environment and said Club SI “really levels up the experience.”
In addition to the O’Neal/Beckham party on grand prix day, Club SI will throw a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Party with models Nicole English and Brooks Nader on Friday, and on Thursday, Dax Shepard will host Eff Won with DRS Podcast live from the venue.
“I consider myself lucky to have fallen in love with F1 at the exact moment it began expanding into the USA. I can’t think of a better way to show off the drama, the glitz, glamor and performance of F1 than ripping down the Las Vegas Strip at over 200 mph,” Shepard told PEOPLE, adding he can’t wait for the “rowdy race fans in Vegas.”
Although cars don’t begin blazing down the Strip until Thursday night, things actually kick off on Wednesday with the Opening Ceremony, wherein drivers will be joined by John Legend, Keith Urban, Journey, Andra Day, Bishop Briggs, J Balvin, Steve Aoki, Swedish House Mafia, Thirty Seconds to Mars, will.i.am and Cirque du Soleil.
The follow day, Kylie Minogue will join Nile Rodgers and Mark Ronson for performances at the T-Mobile Zone at Sphere, Vegas’s newest shiny toy that cost $2.3 billion to build and features U2’s residency show. Minogue will also host the Amber Lounge on Saturday, which is dubs itself “The World’s Most Exclusive Afterparty."
Throughout the weekend, Mark Wahlberg is set to host parties from the rooftop of Drai’s nightclub; Lisa Vanderpump will present A Very Vanderpump Brunch at Vanderpump à Paris; Jack Harlow is performing at the Cosmopolitan; Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez will ante up for a poker tournament to benefit his non-profit Eastern Congo Initiative; DJ Pee .Wee, also known as Anderson .Paak., will spin records at the Heineken House on Saturday before the racers start their engines.
While the city is known for its over-the-top entertainment, it’s also become a global dining destination, and a bevy of celebrity chefs are piggybacking off F1. Gordon Ramsay, Nobu Matsuhisa, Guy Fieri and Giada De Laurentiis are all hosting dining events.
“Vegas just does things better, whether it’s food, shows or entertainment. Now they are racing cars on the Strip under the lights,” De Laurentiis told PEOPLE. “It will be so exciting to see and will show off the Vegas Strip in a whole new way."
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